Biden win boosts climate fight as Carney hails net zero

Written by Lori Campbell on 9th Nov 2020

Joe Biden’s election win could reduce global warming by 0.1C, say experts, as former Bank of England governor Mark Carney calls net zero “the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.” Meanwhile, pensions provider Scottish Widows is to divest £440 million from firms that are failing on environmental and social sustainability, face masks and gloves have been found on nearly one third of UK beaches, and not-for-profit cooperative Repowering London has launched its latest crowdfund to help steer London to a sustainable future. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.


Joe Biden as US president could reduce global warming by 0.1C, says new report

The election of Joe Biden as president of the United States could reduce global warming by about 0.1C – bringing the goals of the Paris agreement “within striking distance” if his plans are fulfilled – according to new analysis.

Biden has set a target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and plans for a $1.7 trillion (£1.29 trillion) investment in a green recovery from the Covid crisis, would reduce US emissions in the next 30 years by about 75 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.

Calculations by the Climate Action Tracker show that this reduction would be enough to avoid a temperature rise of about 0.1C by 2100. However, Biden is likely to face stiff opposition to many of his proposals, from the Republican party nationally and at state level.

It comes as global experts question the UK’s commitment to the climate crisis. A study by think-tank IPPR  reveals that ministers need to commit £33 billion each year of this parliament to green causes to reach the UK’s targets. So far only £4 billion a year has been pledged.

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Mark Carney: Net zero transition is ‘greatest commercial opportunity of our time’

Former Bank of England governor Mark Carney will say that reaching net zero emissions requires a “whole economy transition” that represents “the greatest commercial opportunity of our time” at the Green Horizon Summit in London beginning today.

The summit brings together CEOs, policymakers, and governments to discuss the role the financial sector must play in forging a sustainable future for the global economy. Hosted by the City of London Corporation and UK-based Green Finance Institute, the virtual summit takes place over the next two days, from 9 to 11 November – a year ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next autumn.

Speaking at the event, Carney, the UK Prime Minister’s Finance Advisor for COP26 and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action, is expected to say that “achieving net zero will require a whole economy transition, involving every company, bank, insurer and investor, and creating the greatest commercial opportunity of our time.”

Carney’s speech will outline the progress the financial sector has made so far in tackling the climate crisis, and highlight how further progress is needed ahead of next year’s COP26 conference in Glasgow.

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Scottish Widows to divest £440m from firms failing on environmental and social sustainability

Pensions provider Scottish Widows plans to divest £440 million from companies that have failed to meet its environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards, in what is claims is the most far-reaching exclusions process in the sector.

The insurer is to divest from companies that get more than 10 per cent of their revenues from thermal coal and tar sands – two of the most aggressive, high-carbon forms of fossil fuel extraction. Arms manufacturers and companies which have previously been proven to flout the UN’s requirements on human rights and the environment will also be dropped.

Scottish Widows has said it will only keep investing in companies with historically poor performance on ESG if it believes it can “influence positive change to their business models.”

These policies apply across all of the group’s life, pension and open-ended investment companies (OEICs), including its default funds.

Find out how to invest your pension to make a positive difference, in our Good Guide to Pensions

One third of UK beaches polluted by PPE

Face masks and other items of personal protective equipment (PPE) were found on nearly a third of UK beaches surveyed by beach-cleaning volunteers this autumn.

The Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach clean found items of PPE on 30 per cent of the areas they cleaned up.

The most common items of pollution found in coastal areas were pieces of plastic or polystyrene, plastic takeaway cup lids, and wet wipes.

Volunteers carried out beach cleans in 385 coastal areas in September, covering 43,958 metres of beach.

This year, due to the coronavirus crisis, PPE featured for the first time on the beaches surveyed. Masks and plastic gloves were also found by volunteers in 69 per cent of inland litter picks.

£107k community share offer to help steer London’s sustainable future

Not-for-profit co-operative Repowering London has launched its latest community share offer to help steer London to a sustainable future.

The North Kensington Community Energy (NKCE) project aims to raise £107,000 to fund solar panels in the Westway Trust area. The solar panels will save 28 tonnes of CO2 a year and create a £42,000 Community Fund. Two weeks after launching, it has raised £23,250 from 29 investors. With match funding from Power to Change, this is 44 per cent of the target.

Investors will receive their capital back over the 20 year lifetime of the project, alongside with a projected annual interest of three per cent. Anyone with a UK bank account can invest from £100, and RBKC residents under 25 can invest from £50.

Repowering London empowers communities to fund, install and manage their own clean, local energy – while also getting a return on their investment.

The aim is to put people at the heart of the energy system, not only to help fight the climate emergency by creating net zero emissions, but also to build resilient communities and promote technological innovation.

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